RESPONSIBLE ENDOWMENTS COALITION www.endowmentethics.org


REC Community Investment Training Report

By Olivia Grugan, Middlebury College 2012.

REC CI training

After a five-hour drive from Middlebury, Vermont to New York City, I climbed the stairs of an apartment building and opened a door onto a living room full of organizers. In the hours to come, I met about a dozen students from schools like Mount Holyoke, Bard and Sarah Lawrence. They were all there for the same reason: to talk about community investment. They had flown, driven and bussed in from around the country to attend a REC training and a face-to-face Steering Committee meeting. The goal of the weekend training was to inform us about the nuances of community investment and how it might be implemented on our individual campuses, and to hold a Steering Committee meeting in person. Over the two-and-a-half day period, we explored the traditional definitions of community investment and created our own individual, nuanced definitions. We shared models of existing community investment programs at schools such as Mount Holyoke, Tufts and Seattle and created model campaigns for individual campuses that do not yet have community investment. On Sunday, we held a Steering Committee meeting in person and worked on the REC national campaign of community investment.

As a Student Organizer for REC and a campus organizer at Middlebury College, I can honestly say that the community investment training was one of the most productive environments I have experienced yet. Everyone came to the table with a unique perspective and a base level of knowledge on the topic. We strategized on both a national level and an individual level, each leaving with a plan for implementation on our home campuses. I hope that this level of productivity can continue in our future SRI efforts.
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American University Students Want Community Investment

American University is located in upper Northwest DC and shares its neighborhood with members of DC’s professional upper middle class. To resist isolation from the rest of the city, the university maintains a focus on internships, community service, and taking advantage of the resources and opportunities that the city has to offer. However, to fully embody our mission to be a “private university with a public responsibility,” we must take one step further to support economic justice for every community in DC. Our city is immensely segregated, where communities of color have disproportionately lower incomes. As students at American, we are very concerned about inequality in DC and how we can utilize our privilege to benefit less privileged
communities.

What can we do as students to lessen this disparity? Individual students as well as universities and other institutions must start putting money in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), such as community banks and credit unions, so communities who are underserved by our area’s corporate banks can gain access to credit, loans, and the opportunity to provide for their families. As part of the DC community, American University can positively impact these communities by moving some of the cash from our endowment into CDFIs. AU students are campaigning for the university to transfer 5% of the cash assets from its endowment into CDFIs such as the City First Bank of DC . Totaling $4.3 million dollars, these investments would significantly impact low-income communities of color.

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Since 1998, City First Bank has been providing economic opportunities to underserved communities. Their efforts have resulted in 2,000 jobs and more than 1,400 units of low-income housing for these communities. Between 2004 and 2007, City First lent out over $150 million to community members who used the funds for community development projects, such as small businesses, and for achieving personal financial goals. DC residents who enjoy sugary pursuits know of the delicious bakery Cakelove on U Street, but few know that owner Warren Brown was only able to open the bakery with financing by City First.

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By investing in CDFIs, American will be directly contributing to community control of economic resources. Having access to financial services is an effective way for communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Without CDFIs, many vibrant community-owned businesses would go out of business. National chains would move in to fill the void, thus accelerating the gentrification process.

American’s deposits would be just as protected in City First as it is in big corporate banks. City First and many other CDFIs are FDIC insured for deposits up to $250,000. The CDARS program of diversifying risk ensures that the government will protect investments of up to $50 million in CDFIs. It’s time that American makes our endowment money work for our communities and engages in direct community investment!

For more information, and to find a local credit union or development bank, try the Coalition of CDFIs , National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions , or the Move Your Money campaign.
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A Different Kind Community Investment at Seattle University Engages Students

Written by Maura Rendes, Northwest Student Organizer

The Seattle University Committee on Responsible Investment has successfully proposed a unique form of Community Investment, which allows for students to be involved in a micro-financing process right here in the Central District of Seattle, where the University is located. The administration has agreed to move $100,000 from the operating budget to a local micro-enterprise firm, called Community Capital Development (CCD), with the understanding that the project will be reevaluated in 5 years minimum and ideally matched with funds from the endowment in the future.

CCD is a consortium of three 501(C)-(3) non-profits one of which is the Seattle Economic Development Fund (SEDF), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The CCD provides economic self-sufficiency and job creation through entrepreneurial development and access to capital in the form of micro-loans (greater than or equal to $35,000).

CCD has offered an internship program to be partnered with SU’s Microenterprise Program within the Entrepreneurship Center that will allow students to disperse the $100,000 themselves with the guidance of senior loan officers at CCD, permitting them to later guide and oversee the recipients of the loans and create relationships with the targeted minority and women-owned businesses as well as with the CCD itself.

The project is unique in that the organization itself is not insured by the FDIC, as REC typically recommends for Community Investment projects, however the administration sees the program as a perfect fit for SU and is happy to make the contribution because it so closely parallels our mission, and will have a direct impact on our neighborhood community. Seattle University is happy to share ideas and strategies with anyone interested. Please contact Maura Rendes at maura@endowmentethics.org
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February Campus Updates

Bard
The Committee at Bard is hoping to approve proxy voting guidelines is likely to focus on spreading awareness at the school through lectures and possibly following in Columbia's footsteps with some type of SRI curriculum in the upcoming semester. We may have exhausted our shareholder activist potential for this year as our portfolio has remained surprisingly clean. Obviously we will continue to look for options in that area but the members and I agree that capitalizing on the strong and healthy activist culture at Bard is the best use of the committee's time at this point. Our community investment attempts continue to stall though we will continue to try different approaches on that.

Brandeis University
Our committee met with our COO (as we didn't have a CIO at the time) who seemed supportive just before the break. He explained to us the basic institutional structure of control of investments at Brandeis and recommended we write him a letter thanking him for our meeting and giving an overview of our argument for increased transparency and student input in investments, which he would give to the investment committee of the board of trustees. We sent him the letter, so that's where we are now. We'll probably try to talk to the new CIO soon.

Carleton College
So we're struggling to get through the proxy season as usual. It's a little hectic, but otherwise we have a good dynamic on the committee. In terms of voting guidelines we have run into problems with the administration. We are curious about what other committees have done with guidelines, as our trustees are almost sure to reject anything rigid or set that we bring to them. As it is they have been asking us for very detailed analysis of the possible outcomes of any resolutions we propose to them. Maybe we can tackle it in the spring after more research.

Columbia University
The Committee plans to spend the spring voting proxies and working with the Trustees to ensure their approval of the proxy voting guidelines drafted last year. The Committee also hopes to learn more about filing resolutions and continue to engage in corporate dialogue.

Grinnell College
We're back in bilzzardy and blustery Iowa and rejuvenated from break and excited about SRI. We’re talking about some other potentially more radical routes we as a group might take in our endeavor to get Grinnell to be more SR and are open to ideas. We're going to continue to research proxies and encourage the Trustees to vote on them.

Hampshire College
The administration suspended the socially responsible investment policy and students continue to engage their administration on its reinstitution.

Haverford College
The Committee is co-hosting a REC Roundtable on Shareholder Advocacy on March 18th from 4-6pm, followed by an SRI networking hour. In addition the Committee continues to express interest in filing a resolution.

Howard University
The campaign for a committee at Howard continues to be stymied by a lack of transparency from the finance office, which refuses to release information to students.

Loyola University Chicago
Loyola’s Shareholder Advisory Committee lead-filed a resolution on mountaintop removal financing at JP Morgan Chase. The committee is actively looking for other investors who would like to join the dialogue Chase has now opened with the shareholders on this issue. If you’re interested please contact Elaine Lehman at elehma1@luc.edu.

Macalester College
A broad coalition of student groups continues to push for a more comprehensive responsible investment policy.

Middlebury College
At Middlebury we have a January term that lasts for just over three weeks. For this time period there are less students on campus, but those who are here are just taking one class. So, our hope as the SRI club is to use these three weeks as an educational opportunity to inform the student body about SRI at Middlebury and beyond. We want to have three or events...one each week. We have asked several professors to speak on a panel for the first event. The second one would be an information session about the developing Choice Fund that has not yet been made official, but that the Board of Trustees has agreed to create. The final one would be a sort of open forum for students to talk about next steps for SRI at Middlebury, once the Choice Fund has been created. So that's J-term. Once Spring semester has started we hope to be wrapping up the final details for the creation of the Choice Fund.

Ohio State University
Recently, members of the Undergraduate Student Government at OSU have begun looking at the examples on investment responsibility and are particularly interested in beginning an initiative to create a committe on investment responsibility.

Tufts University
The Committee and Students at Tufts for Investor Responsibility (STIR) continue to advocate for broader committee membership and the development of structures like proxy voting guidelines and a social choice fund that will help deepen the school’s commitment to responsible investment.

University of California
The UC Responsible Investment Coalition held a retreat in January for students interested in pushing the Regents and the campus foundations to adopt committees on investor responsibility. The group developed goals and created working groups to take the necessary steps to move forward. UCRIC plans to be vocal at Regents meetings and on campuses this spring.

University of Chicago
Students for Democratic Society at the University of Chicago plan to challenge their school’s policy of “no responsible policy” this spring by raising the campus community’s awareness of the issue and working with administrators to come to a resolution.

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Net Impact graduate and undergradute students continue to work with the administration toward setting up a comittee on responsible investing. We are currently meeting with the administration to discuss develping proxy voting guidelines and with student government to secure that body’s support for the effort.

University of North Dakota
We at SDS have a written proposal for a socially responsible investment committee that would be housed under student government. We plan to begin working with the University Investment Committee, the Alumni Foundation, and student senators to get the committee established.

Washington University-St. Louis

Washington University Students for Endowment Transparency continues to push for greater investment accountability and a multi-stakeholder process for investment decision.

Yale

Students are preparing for the committee's annual meeting where they hope to push the committee to enact the reforms outlined in the Responsible Endowment Project's report, available at www.responsibleendowment.com.  They are also circulating petitions that they believe will raise awareness and demonstrate the broad support on campus for greater transparency and broader purview of the committee.












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Rebuilding Haiti: What Can Investors Do?

Just two weeks ago, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti. As all of you know, Port au Prince, was devastated. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a history of horrific coups and destructive intervention by foreign powers including France and the United States, Haiti was grossly unprepared for this disaster.

Their buildings were not earthquake or hurricane proof, their airport tiny, and their port outdated. As the world has rightly rushed to the rescue, the relief efforts have been both helpful and extremely problematic. At a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people are still living on the streets, and many are going hungry.

Recently, though, the conversation has turned to the long-term rebuilding of Haiti.

As citizens, we must encourage our government to ensure that we support Haiti to build a sustainable and just economy for its entire population. As donors and investors, we have an opportunity to support that development.

One way is to support the organizations on the ground doing this work. For example, REC supporter Sister Pam Buganski’s group, the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo, Ohio, has been investing in Fonkoze, Haiti’s Bank for the Organized Poor, for the past two years, and plans to continue to do so. Writing recently, she said that their investment allowed them to “be with the people of Haiti before and during the earthquake and allows them to support the rebuilding of the people in the country” in its aftermath.

As investors, though, you, and I, and the institutions that we are part of, especially colleges and universities, have an opportunity to make a long-term difference by investing in just and sustainable economy. Aren’t those the kind of returns we really want to make?
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On the "Move Your Money" Initiative

Right before New Years the Huffington Post ran an article, "Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution," that encouraged people to move their money from one of the big six national banks into small, local banks. Since then the initiative has launched into full swing, with its own website and a bustling facebook page , garnering it extensive media coverage in both the mainstream press and the netroots.

In general I support the idea of this campaign, and if you're still looking to make a slightly late New Year's resolution, you should hop on the bandwagon. Just because you didn't break up with Bank of America last year, doesn't mean you can't do it this year. And be sure to provide yourself with the proper scaffolding for making any serious resolution come to fruition.

My one issue with the campaign is that that it specifically focuses on local banks and largely ignores credit unions. At first the MYM campaign didn't mention credit unions at all until a large number of people (myself included) wrote to them pointing out that credit unions are yet another viable option with their own unique benefits over both the big banks and their smaller, local counterparts. But even on the website, MYM still somewhat dissuades people from choosing credit unions over local banks:
Not all community banks are risk free. Some of them got involved in the same risky behavior that took down some of the biggest banks.

We suggest two options for looking into the small and community banks in your area:

OPTION ONE :

Thanks to the volunteer services of a group called Institutional Risk Analytics (IRA), you can get a listing of the most sound community banks near you. IRA lists only banks that, according to its rating system, which is based on government data, get a grade of “B” or better.

Credit Unions: Many folks have written us suggesting that people should examine credit unions. Like the FDIC for banks and thrifts, the National Credit Union Administration insures the deposits of credit unions and is a good resource for financial data on specific institutions. Credit unions do not disclose financial data in the same way as FDIC-insured banks. As a result, credit unions are not presently included in the IRA ratings database, which covers over 8,000 federally insured banks and thrifts. IRA is developing a method to rate credit unions in a way that is comparable to the IRA bank stress ratings. We’ll be updating users of “Move Your Money” on this issue early in 2010.

The implication of this write-up on credit unions is that because credit unions don't disclose their financial data in the same way as banks it is therefore impossible to tell whether or not credit unions engage in the kind of risky behavior that we all want our financial institutions to steer clear of. Unfortunately, this misses the fundamental difference between credit unions and banks (both the large ones and the community ones). Unlike at a bank, a depositor at a credit union is an owner of the credit union and most credit unions subscribe to the "one member, one vote" model. That means that the credit union is legally responsible to you and not to its external shareholders like any bank is; at a credit union you are in effect the shareholder. This might even mean that there could be a bit of democracy in our economy (imagine that!).

The larger point here is that while moving from a behemoth oligopolistic financial institution to a small bank is definitely a step in the right direction, it doesn't solve the core problem. The issue is that people do not have any say or control over what happens with their finances once they deposit them somewhere for safe keeping. While a local bank may be less likely to indulge in risky or fraudulent behavior than a big bank, nothing is actually stopping them from doing so. You're essentially relying on the benevolence and good will of your local bank manager to not take advantage of you. Moving your money to a local bank doesn't create deep structural change, only cosmetic change. Only through democratic control of the economy can we foster financial stability that benefits everyone, not just the elites.

Let's see if the HuffPo crowd catches on to the difference.




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November/December Campus Updates


American University students are working on establishing a corporate responsibility board for responsible investing .  We are currently drafting a proposal to present to the Board of Trustees.  We just held a workshop on the Solidarity Economy with Jessica Gordon Nembhard.  She led a discussion about how our work on responsible investment fits into the solidarity economy movement and how we can make changes in our own lives to act in solidarity with people, not corporations.


Bard College students are reevaluating the SRI mutual fund where the student endowment is invested.  Alongside this reevaluation, we are writing an article in the student paper to inform the student body about the performance of the fund, as well as its purpose and screening methods.    We are continuing to look for different options for community investment and are putting together a proposal for the short-term deposit of the Student Activities Fee Fund in a community bank over the summer.


Columbia University The Columbia Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing recently held its annual town hall to hear from students interested in proposing specific actions by the committee. The Columbia REC group made three proposals. More details here.


Fordam University students continue to educate their campus social justice community about responsible endowments practices. They hope to host a campus-wide event with speakers from the SRI industry and local campus Committees On Investor Responsibility this spring.


Grinnell College Students for Responsible Investing are urging their school to co-file a resolution on gender discrimination at a major company after successfully convincing the school to vote on that proxy last year. They will know in a couple weeks whether or not this effort will be successful.


Hampshire College students continue to await their administration’s decision regarding the school’s socially responsible investment policy. A campus group charged with managing a student-run endowment according to ESG criteria is currently researching their options as well.


Haverford College faculty and administrators are weighing whether or not to co-file a resolution with a major company concerning indigenous rights in the developing world.


Students at the London School of Economics and Political Science recently submitted a proposal to their administration for the creation of a cir that will include a purview encompassing multiple investment strategies. Read more here.


Loyola University Chicago ‘s committee plans to co-file on several resolutions, details forthcoming.


Luther College students are proposing a subcommittee to their Trustee endowment committee to both examine and make recommendations based on ESG criteria regarding mutual funds.


Macalester College students from a wide variety of organizations have formed a campus coalition to propose a substantial proactive investment policy based on the community’s shared values of sustainability and social responsibility.


Middlebury College's Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investment is working with the college's Board of Trustees to establish a "Sustainability Fund."  This fund will be invested in a mutual fund that fits certain environmental criteria.  The students hope that this fund will become a model for how larger portions of the endowment could be invested in the future.


Mount Holyoke College students recently met with their Trustees to propose placing endowment funds into Community Development Financial Institutions based on the success of the student-run community investment fund. They are also pushing their Student Senate to support the effort with a resolution.


New School students from a number of organizations have presented several campus events on sustainable investment. They plan to implement their committee on responsible investment this spring.


New York University students are creating a detailed proposal for the steering committee of the Sustainability Task Force to create a Finance Working Group at NYU. The proposal outlines various financial mechanisms that will enhance sustainability on campus, including the recommendation of a revolving loan fund, a system of cost benefit analysis, proxy voting and preferential investment strategies. The working group aims to create a cross-disciplinary approach to use finance as a way to achieve a triple-bottom line, not only at NYU but in the global community as well.


Sarah Lawrence College students are creating an active SRI committee of students through their Student Government. Students who serve on the board would be responsible for all things SRI and would have a non-voting position on   the school's Board. Sarah Lawrence is working towards more student transparency on the Board (we currently only have one student with a seated position).


Tufts University students continue to lobby their school to strengthen the existing committee on investor responsibility. Their latest op-ed is available here.


At the University of Michigan we are working on getting a student advisory committee on responsible investing set up.  We have been working with the administration, specifically the CFO, Tim Slottow, and the secretary to the Board of Regents, Sally Churchill.  They have expressed that we will need to convey more student support before setting up such a committee, so we are refocusing on building student support for a committee.


Washington University Students for Endowment Transparency continue to raise awareness on campus of their school ties to coal  while also meeting with school officials about implementing a responsible investment policy.We are asking for the creation of an institutionalized financial oversight committee with elected student, faculty, and community representation.  This committee would be able to oversee all investment decisions and vote on them, as well as engage in shareholder activism.  We are also asking for this committee to report back to the university community through a website providing full endowment transparency and also through regular briefings of the student union.



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Drew University SDS Wins an SRI Committee


Drew University is excited to announce that early next month we will have the first-ever meeting of Drew University’s Socially Responsible Investment Committee! We are thrilled to have found such strong student, staff, administration, faculty, and trustee support for using Drew’s endowment to make the world a better place. We are particularly proud to announce that students from all three schools—undergraduate, graduate, and theological—will be on the committee, and that a highly supportive and influential emeritus trustee will be joining us there as well.


Our committee will harness all of this talent and energy with three levels of involvement. First, the committee’s eleven voting members, five of whom are students, will set the direction and tone of our engagement with the campus community and trustees. Next, the committee’s growing ranks of non-voting members will take the committee’s work to the next level by dedicating themselves to specific campaigns. Finally, individuals who do not have the time or dedication to become committee members will guide us toward the issues and campaigns that matter most to them while holding us accountable when we fall behind.


Right now, we are scrambling to prepare for the committee’s first meeting, but we want to take the time to recognize the invaluable support we have received from REC. Your expertise, resources, and contacts made it possible for us to transform our dream into reality. Thank you, REC!


With passion,


Drew Students for a Democratic Society (SRI Working Group)



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Wesleyan’s Responsibly Invested Student Endowment Outperforms the Market

Written by Becky Weiss, Wesleyan Student Activist, REC Steering Committee Member

Wesleyan University’s student-controlled endowment, the first of its kind in the nation, proves that investing with a social conscience does not mean sacrificing returns. The endowment, which was started in October 2008 with $150,000, has weathered the financial crisis beautifully. It currently stands at $150,065.46 and has outperformed the S&P 500 by 25.5% during the period since the endowment’s creation.

Breaking essentially even during these tough times has been a challenge for most. The WSA is proud to attribute its success to its $50,000 investment in a socially responsible fund with the investment management firm PIMCO, which posted a 12% return and now stands at $56,058.76.

Another $50,000 was originally kept in a guaranteed cash vehicle but was recently transferred to a laddered set of share certificates with a local credit union, MiddConn. In addition to being a safe and reliable investment with reasonable return, the WSA chose to move its cash to MiddConn in order to support its local community of Middletown, CT.

The last $50,000 of the WSA’s initial investment is tied to the Wesleyan University endowment. This segment was the only portion of the WSA endowment’s portfolio to post a loss. Wesleyan recently formed a Committee for Investor Responsibility to vote its endowment’s proxy resolutions and to engage in other forms of shareholder activism. The committee is made up of students, faculty, staff, and alumnae.

The WSA endowment was created to eventually replace the Student Activities Fee with an annual draw. The Student Activities Fee is an annual fee paid by each student that funds all events, concerts, and student groups on Wesleyan’s campus. The revenue generated by the Student Activities Fee is managed exclusively by the students elected to serve on the WSA.

The outstanding performance of the WSA endowment shows that responsible investment can be a wonderful thing for your university. Through responsible investing, it is possible for your university to effect positive change in the world while also fattening its wallet. When taken together, these two arguments prove difficult to ignore.
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Exciting Updates from Campuses

Below are some brief updates on the headway that students are making on their campuses. Look for a college or university that you know or get some tips and ideas from other campuses.

Bard College:

The Committee hopes to expand and formalize proxy voting guidelines, use surplus student activities fund money for community investment, transfer a percentage of the endowment into community banks, research microfinance in the Hudson Valley, and explore new shareholder resolution filing opportunities.

Barnard College:

The Committee continues to work with administrators and external fund managers to develop a responsible investment policy that fits with current investment strategies.

Brown University:

The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) administers the

Brown Socially Responsible Investment Fund (BSRI) and is about to make its first investment. More information at http://brownsri.blogspot.com/.

California Institute of Technology:

Student government officials approached the administration about adding sustainable investing policies to the existing investment guidelines but the administration does not believe the endowment is an appropriate place for student involvement. The Graduate Student Council is planning to transfer their assets to a community bank at the end of the fiscal year.

Carleton College:

In the Spring the Committee conducted a faculty/ staff/ student wide survey with the aim of understanding the community's investment preferences. Theysurveyed 200 student and 100 staff members and a few faculty. They are going to conduct another one this fall. This Spring they also completed a follow-up report for the Trustees which included some additional analysis of the resolutions that we passed in the Winter. More information is available at http://apps.carleton.edu/governance/cric/charter/.

Columbia University:

Students in the REC Columbia chapter continue to seek greater transparency and the active participation of the Columbia community in regarding the school’s investment decisions. The Committee is submitting their proxy voting guidelines written in a spring 2009 Socially Responsible Investment class, convened by the Committee Chair, to the Trustees this fall. More information is available at http://www.finance.columbia.edu/sri/.

DePaul University:

Students are working on a proposal for a committee on investor responsibility and incorporating endowment-focused work into that of other student organizations. Faculty and staff are also working on a document that will provide a framework for aligning mission and investments that will go to the President. They are also looking at ways the endowment relates to sustainability.

Grinnell

Last semester, students presented on the Wal-Mart gender discrimination proxy to their Trustees and convinced them to vote for the proxy and were told they would be interested in voting for similar proxies in the future. They still refused a committee, but agreed to let the students do what a committee would do and also let one of the treasurer's office personnel work more closely with them. They are now pursuing co-filing the same resolution.

Hampshire College:

Students are setting up a student-managed endowment and have some voice in the restructuring of their committee on investor responsibility and the new investment guidelines it will enforce. Students for Justice in Palestine is hosting a national conference for other student groups interested in pursuing divestment. more information at http://www.hsjp.org/.

Howard University:

Students are working to build greater cohesion and communication throughout the campus community, develop a student committee to represent student opinions on university investment decisions, open the campus federal credit union to students, and to encourage and advocate for student financial literacy.

Mt. Holyoke College:

Students involved in the community investment committee will be meeting with their Trustee investment committee this fall to discuss the ways they can increase transparency and incorporate responsible investment strategies into the college endowment.

Miami University-Ohio:

The student government vice president is preparing to present a proposal for a responsible investment policy to the appropriate decision-makers this fall. While he isn’t convinced he will win, he says “I do understand and represent the interests and concerns of 16,000 students.”

Middlebury College:

The advisory committee on socially responsible investing is currently working with Trustees to create an environmental choice fund and to develop a responsible investment policy with their external fund manager. They are also working to inform and engage the student body in investment decisions.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

The MIT Executive Committee has determined they do not want to make the Advisory Committee for Social Responsibility a permanent committee but does want it to remain open as a venue for expressing concerns. The current compromise is for all concerns to go through the MIT Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-Wide Affairs, http://web.mit.edu/corporation/additional/cjac.html, composed of students, faculty, and alumni that has the power to convene the ACSR.

New York University:

Last year’s occupiers, Take Back NYU, are now working to develop internal alignment around campaign goals. Students with the Sustainability Task Force are currently working to introduce sustainable investing to campus investment practices.

Sarah Lawrence:

Last year the student government was able to successfully negotiate full disclosure of endowment investments and the creation of a committee of students, faculty, and staff to advise on responsible investment issues. This fall students are developing and implementing this policy.

Tufts University:

Students at Tufts for Investor Responsibility (STIR) are still pushing the school to live up to its original commitment to responsible investment by empowering the advisory committee on shareholder responsibility with proxy voting powers and the representation of stakeholders from across the campus community. The committee has also undergone a transition to new student membership and is currently developing sustainability focused proxy voting guidelines.

University of California:

UC-Responsible Investment Coalition members are still working to develop advisory committees on investor responsibility at each campus within the UC system, focusing on UCLA, UCI, and Berkeley first. They are also working to introduce ESG proxy voting guidelines to the full system-wide endowment.

University of Michigan:

Students at Ann Arbor are negotiation to add ESG criteria to existing proxy voting guidelines. Students at Dearborn continue to push for greater transparency and a responsible investment policy.

University of Vermont:

Student government officials were recently appointed to a subcommittee the Trustees dedicated to considering responsible investment. After attending the REC conference in Philly they plan to take back what they learned from other schools’ policies to frame their discussion.

Washington University-St. Louis:

Students continue to advocate for greater transparency around investment decisions and to draw student attention to the issue by focusing on coal and climate issues related to the endowment. They seek not only access to investment information but also institutionalized student oversight in the form of a committee.

Wayne State University:

Students with “As Soon As Possible” are seeking divestment from Marathon Oil Corporation, a local polluter, and reinvestment in sustainable green community enterprises. They are also seeking new investment guidelines for managers that are created with input from students, faculty, and the campus community.

Wesleyan

The student government just moved about $42,000 from their cash into a green fund. They are also developing greater transparency and access to the portfolio for community members, a balance of ethics, profit, and the interest of trustees, administrators, and students, and to streamline processes and develop sustainable long term resolution to existing issues.

Yale:

Students with the Responsible Endowment Project created a report, available at www.responsibleendowment.com. Students with the Dwight Hall SRI Fund recently made an initial investment in a community bank and are currently researching market driven investment opportunities.
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